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How to Work With Images in PowerPoint (Complete PPT Picture Guide)

Read Time: 15 min
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Read Time: 15 min
This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
What Are the Right Dimensions (Size) for Your PowerPoint PPT Slides? (+ Video)
How to Quickly Edit PPT Slide Background Graphics Using PowerPoint

PowerPoint presentations contain all types of content: text, video, audio, and images. Learning to work with presentation images for PowerPoint makes your slide much more interesting.

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PowerPoint is full of useful tools that you can use to edit images. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Slides that are simply text need some variety to hold your audience's attention. Whether it's a photo, illustration, or graphic, PowerPoint has editing tools to import and edit your image files.

Images often need cropping, resizing, and more tweaks to fit in a presentation. Apps like Photoshop have image editing tools, but they're difficult to learn.

The good news is that PowerPoint has image editing essentials inside the app. You can add images to your presentation and edit them without even opening a separate photo editor.

Here are the PowerPoint image tools you'll learn to use in this tutorial:

  • Resizing. Scale an image in PowerPoint to the correct size for your slide.
  • Rotating. Flip an image to face the correct direction, including mirroring it horizontally or vertically.
  • Cropping. Select a part of an image in PowerPoint to remove.
  • Removing picture backgrounds. If your image has a white background and you want to remove it, PowerPoint has a tool to remove backgrounds. This creates transparent images in PowerPoint. 
  • Image effects. Add color tints and adjust image saturation (including black & white) inside your PowerPoint presentation.

How to Quickly Work With Images in PowerPoint (Watch & Learn)

This video shows you the complete set of PowerPoint's image editing tools. I'll teach you the steps from importing a picture onto your slide to correcting and editing it.

Read on for more tips on how to edit and work with images in PPT.

Why Use Images In PowerPoint? (The Power of Pictures) 

According to many statistics, a significant percentage of the population are visual learners. That means information is easier to understand when presented visually for these learners.

That statistic alone should be enough to convince you of the importance of using Microsoft PowerPoint images. Giving a great presentation is all about sharing information in intuitive, easy-to-understand formats.

Let's look at three ways that pictures can help improve your presentation:

1. Pictures Transform Boring Slides

As you can see in the example below, a single photo is enough to transform a slide. 

Think of a great photo as the bait to grab a viewer's attention. Text alone might not be enough to entice an audience to read the content. But when you pair it with an exciting image, a viewer's eye flows to the content.

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Notice how much more interesting this slide is, thanks to PowerPoint pictures. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Basically: Microsoft PowerPoint images increase the odds that your viewer will absorb the content. As a presenter, learning how to make and edit PPTs with pictures is crucial.

2. Pictures Are Powerful Storytelling Tools

The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is a classic saying for a reason.

Sometimes, text alone isn't enough to convey a message. PowerPoint photos give visual learners a new way to understand information.

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Rather than relying on a wordy slide, this image PowerPoint presentation takes a visual approach to teach a new skill. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Maybe there's a concept that you can't explain perfectly in words. But when you show a few carefully selected images, the idea comes to life. Think of pictures as more than complementary. Sometimes, they're a must.

3. Pictures Help Viewers Relate

What if we viewed a photo as a tool to inspire empathy? Sometimes, a well-placed photo of people can help your audience put themselves in others' shoes.

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People-focused photos are a great way to help your audience visualize themselves in a situation. (Source: Envato Elements)

Let's say that you're giving a presentation that's designed to inspire your audience to action. Showing buildings and landscapes doesn't necessarily help your viewer understand their role. But show a people-centric photo, and suddenly, the mind empathizes. 

Where to Find Great Microsoft PowerPoint Images (With Unlimited Downloads)

Maybe you've come around to see the importance of photos in PowerPoint. They're crucial to creating an attractive presentation.

But now, where do you find them? The most important part of learning how to put pictures in PowerPoint is finding the perfect source. Envato Elements gives you an all-you-can-download library for PowerPoint stock images.

Envato Elements pictures for PowerPointEnvato Elements pictures for PowerPointEnvato Elements pictures for PowerPoint
Use the unlimited Envato Elements library to unlock millions of PowerPoint pictures for a flat monthly rate.

It's important that your photos are properly licensed. It's risky to simply hit Google Images and source images. Those photos are usually copyrighted and may lack the quality you need for a professional presentation.

Plus, Envato Elements includes so much more. You can download PowerPoint presentation templates that help you create your best slide deck ever. Those are all included at no extra cost.

Envato Elements is your best bet when you need to build an image PowerPoint presentation. There are thousands of image PPT templates to choose from. And it’s easy to find the perfect photos, with over six million and counting to choose from.

PowerPoint Picture Dos and Don’ts

Before we start learning how to put pictures in PowerPoint, let's review a few more guiding principles. These three tips for working with PowerPoint pictures can improve your presentation.

1. Number of PowerPoint Images

  • Do: Add images to the extent it enhances your slide.
  • Don't: Add images in a way that obscures content or distracts the audience.

There's a balance to be found when you start adding PowerPoint photos. You don't want to obscure your slide content with too many photos.

As a general rule, try not to exceed more than three medium-sized images or two large images on your slide.

2. PowerPoint Photo Licensing

  • Do: Use an approved source for adding images.
  • Don't: hit Google Images and download liberally.

As we mentioned above, copyright matters! You don't want to be caught using a photo that isn't approved and put yourself at legal risk.

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With Elements, you can ensure that your PowerPoint images are fully licensed.

Remember: Envato Elements is the best source for licensed PowerPoint images. It's all-you-can-download, and all covered as part of the license, no matter how many images you choose.

3. PowerPoint Image Quality

  • Do: Edit pictures in PowerPoint with the built-in tools.
  • Don't: Stretch images so that you distort the original.

There's nothing worse than pixelated, grainy images. It's sure to draw the viewer's eye in a disproportionate way.

Learn how to set the perfect dimensions for your PowerPoint presentation with the help of this tutorial:

How to Insert Images in PowerPoint

Let's get started by adding images to our PowerPoint presentation. There are two main ways to insert images into your PowerPoint. Paste an image from your clipboard or import a picture from a file on your computer.

Let's look at both ways to work with images in PPT.

The tips in this section were written using Windows and Office 365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of PowerPoint, your steps may be slightly different. 

1. Paste Images

It’s amazingly easy to paste images in PowerPoint. Begin by copying an image to your clipboard by right-clicking on it and choosing Copy or Copy Image.

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Copy an image to your clipboard, then paste it into PPT by right-clicking and choosing Picture from the Paste Options group. (Image in sidebar source: Envato Elements.)

Then, navigate to the PowerPoint slide where you want to paste your photo. Then, right-click and choose Picture from the Paste Options section. PowerPoint instantly pastes your image onto the slide!

2. Insert Images From Your Computer

My favorite way to add pictures in PowerPoint is to first save them to my computer. There are key advantages here. It’s easier to keep track of all the photos in your slide deck. Plus, you can add more than one image at one time. This way, you can streamline the process of inserting images in PowerPoint.

To use this method, find the Insert tab on PowerPoint’s ribbon. Then, click on the Pictures drop-down arrow. From the list of options, choose This Device.

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Insert PowerPoint pictures by going to Insert > Pictures > This Device. (Image in sidebar source: Envato Elements.)

A file browser opens. You can find photos that you've stored on your computer. Click to select them, and then click Insert to add them to your slide.

There are other options on the file browser to insert PowerPoint images. Next to Insert, you can click on the drop-down arrow to explore them. These are more advanced ways to work with images:

  • Insert. This is the standard option for inserting pictures, which puts the image file inside your PowerPoint. It increases the size of your presentation file but works even when you send it to others.
  • Link to File. This links to the original file, so you'll need to keep it on your computer for the PowerPoint to display it correctly.
  • Insert and Link. If the original file changes, the version on your PowerPoint slide updates as well. 
How to insert pictures in PowerPointHow to insert pictures in PowerPointHow to insert pictures in PowerPoint
Once you’ve inserted a photo, it appears on your slides! (Image source: Envato Elements.)

 Now that you've got your image inserted into the presentation, it's time to check out the picture editing tools.

How to Resize and Tilt Images in PowerPoint

When you select an image in PowerPoint, white circles appear on the corners of the picture. Resize an image by grabbing one of these circles and pulling it until the image is the desired size.

By default, PowerPoint locks the aspect ratio when resizing an image. This means that it'll prevent stretching when you resize it. 

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You can quickly resize and format PowerPoint pictures right inside the app. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

To turn this off right-click on the image and choose Size and Position. A menu opens on the right side of PowerPoint. Untick the Lock aspect ratio box.

Notice in the screenshot above that you can also type in an exact size for your image on the new menu. If you know the exact dimensions you need for an image, this feature comes in handy.

Also, tilt an image by grabbing the circular arrow icon above an image and pulling it left to right.

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With an image selected, click on the circular arrow above an image and pull it left or right to rotate the image. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

How to Rotate an Image in PowerPoint

It’s often useful to rotate images in PowerPoint. They may import facing the wrong way. O, you might just want to mix up your style! You can rotate images in 90-degree increments using the Rotate menu on the Picture Format tab.

With an image selected, click on Picture Format, found on PowerPoint’s ribbon. You’ll find the Rotate option in the Arrange group. Select Rotate Right 90 or Rotate Left 90 to begin rotating your photos in PowerPoint fast.

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Rotate your presentation images for PowerPoint by selecting them and using the Rotate menu on the Picture Format tab. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Also, on this menu, you can flip an image. Choose Flip Vertical or Flip Horizontal to do this. These work to mirror images. For example, you can use these options if the text in your photos appears “backwards.” The Flip commands correct this.

How to Crop a Picture in PowerPoint

It’s easy to crop images right inside PowerPoint. It’s how to edit a picture in PowerPoint to show only the parts of the image you need. 

Once again, to get started, you’ll want to be sure your image PPT is selected. Then, return to the Picture Format tab on the ribbon. Click on Crop, which you’ll find on the right side of the menu in the Size group.

How to edit a picture in PowerPointHow to edit a picture in PowerPointHow to edit a picture in PowerPoint
Crop images by finding the Crop button on the Picture Format tab. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Black handles appear on the sides and corners of your image. You can click and pull on these to crop your photo. Areas to be cropped away become shaded, showing that they’ll be removed. When you’ve made your crop area selection, click Crop again. PowerPoint crops the image.

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Pull on the black handles on the edges of your photo to select the crop area for your images in PowerPoint. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Accidentally crop too much? No worries! Click on Crop again, and you’ll see the original image reappear, with the cropped areas still shaded. You can select a new crop area to change the look and feel. 

How to Remove Image Backgrounds in PowerPoint

One of the handiest picture tools in PowerPoint is the ability to remove an image background. You've probably run into a situation like this before. You've got a graphic, like a logo or an icon, with a solid color background.

Take the screenshot below, for example. If I want to use the Envato logo graphic with no white background, I can use the Remove Background feature.

With an image selected, click on the Remove Background button on the Picture Format tab.

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You can remove the whitespace from this logo background using PowerPoint’s Remove Background feature.

PowerPoint shows a new view where you can set the points to remove and keep in the image. The pink area shows the part of the image that PowerPoint will remove as the background.

PowerPoint takes a first guess at which areas to remove. Refine the selection by using the Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove option on the ribbon. 

Click on those options, then set the points on the image that you want to keep and remove. PowerPoint adapts to remove the areas you show it. Use the two options to show PowerPoint exactly what to remove and what to keep.

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PowerPoint removes all areas shaded in pink when you click Keep Changes. (Image in sidebar source: Envato Elements.)

In the screenshot above, you can see how I used this tool. I set "Keep" areas for the logo text and icon. Once you press Keep Changes, PowerPoint removes the background from your image. 

More Tools to Work with Images in PowerPoint

Finally, let’s look at more great ways to work with pictures in PowerPoint. These help you make images look stunning right inside the app! You don’t need other editing tools.

To get started, click on one of your PowerPoint images and return to the Picture Format tab. Here, we’ll explore several tools:

1. Corrections

Click on Corrections on the left side of the ribbon to access two key tools: Sharpen / Soften and Brightness / Contrast. If you've worked with any image editing app, these terms and effects are already familiar to you. Sharpening can enhance the detail of an image.

Hover over any of the preview thumbnails to see the effect on the image and click to apply it.

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Sharpen/soften and brightness/contrast adjustments are quick, easy ways to transform images quickly. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Brightness and contrast adjusts the exposure and impact of an image. Try these out if you need to brighten up a dim image.

2. Color

The Color drop-down lets you adjust the appearance of color in your image. Use the Color Saturation options to reduce or increase the intensity of the color (including converting an image to black and white.)

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Color adjustments are easy using PPT’s Color drop-down menu. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Click on any of these thumbnails to apply the selected effect. The image adjusts to the selected color style.

There are other tools like the Artist Effects drop-down, and Style presets to add decorative frames. Try out these as well to add some creative flair to an image.

Learn More About Using PowerPoint

This tutorial gave you the skills to work confidently with images in PowerPoint. There are plenty of other presentation tips and tools that can help you level up as a presenter.

On Envato Tuts+, we've built a deep library of PowerPoint tutorials. There are many learning resources that help you learn how to put pictures in PowerPoint and so much more. 

In our guide, How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide), you can learn the app completely! Make sure to check out a few of our favorite tutorials from the guide:

Outstanding Options for Templates Focused on PowerPoint Images

Here's a secret: professional presenters love to use the work of others. But don't worry. It's not theft, thanks to an impressive creative library called Envato Elements.

On Envato Elements, you can download an unlimited number of templates and PowerPoint pictures. These are usually focused on PowerPoint photos. Instead of creating a presentation from scratch, use a template with impressive PowerPoint designs.

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Build a stunning PowerPoint with images using premium Envato Elements templates.

Here are some of our best articles with top PowerPoint photo-focused templates. Check them out to kickstart your design work!

Create a Picture-Perfect PowerPoint Presentation Today

In this tutorial, you learned about PowerPoint's built-in options for modifying and working with images. There are enough features to bypass opening Photoshop or Pixelmator to edit pictures right inside of PowerPoint.

The best pairing with PowerPoint pictures is templates focused on imagery. With the help of Envato Elements, don't forget that you can source unlimited templates focused on PowerPoint photos.

Before you step on stage with your presentation, ask yourself: did you include enough PowerPoint photos? Audiences love visuals. You learned how to make and edit a PPT with pictures to grab and hold their attention in this tutorial. So, put the knowledge to use now!

Note: This article was originally published on August 2, 2017. It's been comprehensively and the video has been updated with help from Andrew Childress.

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